“Hitman” comes back from brink of defeat to take out “The Juggernaut.” The Ultimate Fighting Championship wrapped up its latest season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) this weekend providing fans with a new TUF winner and another dangerous top contender to Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight throne.
In the main event of the evening, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger came out with a fury, knocking down Martin “Hitman” Kampmann with a big punch and blasted him with a barrage of punches on the ground. Kampmann displayed his heart and resilience as he held on and survived the round. The second round opened up with Ellenberger throwing big power shots and visibly looking to knock Kampmann’s head into the stands. Unfortunately for Ellenberger, his wild power shots left him open to a short counter punch that knocked him off balance. “Hitman” took advantage of the opportunity to clinch with Ellenberger and landed two beautifully placed knees that sent his powerful opponent reeling to the ground and clenching his nose. Kampmann’s finish of Ellenberger sets him up with a showdown with either Johnny Hendricks to establish the top contender or a rematch with Carlos Condit for the interim Welterweight Championship.
In the co-main event, Micheal Chiesa took on Al Iaquinta to determine the 22nd TUF winner. Anyone who has been following this season has been touched by Chiesa’s experience and the death of his father shortly after his arrival on the show. Undoubtedly, many in attendance and at home were likely rooting for the shaggy-haired Chiesa to win. Although Iaquinta won both knockout of the season and fight of the season awards, the Matt Serra trained fighter could not overcome Chiesa’s storybook ending and succumbed to a fight ending rear-naked choke in the first round.
In other main card action, Charles Oliveira showed why he will be a force to be reckoned with in the 145-pound division by trouncing former TUF winner Jonathan Brookins in all areas of the fight. Brookins could not find his rhythm and Oliveira took advantage of a slight opening to sink in a tight guillotine and end the fight. In addition, the youngest fighter on the UFC roster, Max Holloway, took on Pat Schilling and controlled the fight with his length and solid jab to earn a unanimous decision victory. Rounding out the main card was Justin Lawrence’s knockout of the night worthy head kick victory over John Cofer. Lawrence has trained with Anderson Silva and will make a solid addition to the 155-pound ranks.
The live undercard, which aired on Fuel TV, provided some high octane action as four of the five bouts were ended within the first two rounds by either knockout or submission. Here is how the undercard turned out:
155 lbs.: Daron Cruickshank def. Chris Tickle via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Myles Jury def. Chris Saunders via submission (guillotine) at 4:03 of round one
155 lbs.: Sam Sicilia def. Cristiano Marcello via TKO (strikes) at 2:53 of round two
155 lbs.: Joe Proctor def. Jeremy Larsen via TKO (knee to the head, hammerfists) at 1:59 of round
135 lbs.: Erik Perez def. John Albert via submission (armbar) at 4:18 of round one
A few interesting storylines emerged after this event. Will Martin Kampmann finally string together decisive wins over his opponents and capitalise on his potential? Will the UFC give him a deserved rematch with Carlos Condit, or will he need to prove himself once more against emerging contender Johnny Hendricks? Has Micheal Chiesa’s touching story come to an end, or will the Hollywood-esque storyline continue into his UFC career? One thing is for certain, the talent emerging in the UFC is ever expanding and the organization’s champions will be kept busy for a long time to come.